community journalism

The Bangor Area Commons Radio Show

WERU-FM Community Radio

The Bangor Area Commons’ radio show produced by corps member Meaghan Lasala. As part of Meaghan’s outreach efforts to connect with the Bangor community she has started this public affairs show dedicated to the people, stories, and issues of Bangor. The show not only spreads awareness of WERU to the Bangor area but also demonstrates to Bangor residents the power of local, community radio.

See her full archive of shows here:

Citizen Journalism Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Abby Wendle
Program Start: 
Project Description: 

Abby will assist in organizing volunteer community journalists to create content t be delivered over our web portal, radio station, and public access TV. In this capacity, she will work closely with allied non-profits - - such as the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) to identify and recruit volunteers with some journalism experience to help guide and launch this new effort. Work with these volunteers will include production coordination for a weekly radio public affairs program. She will also assist in grant writing to secure funding to build and create a sustainable community journalism effort.

Project Outcome: 

During her service at MAIN, Abby was responsible for expanding the capacity of the local community radio station WPVM and securing partnerships with community groups in order to create a citizen journalism program through MAIN.

With WPVM Abby partnered with Children First to submit a grant application to help involve kids in making media. The Proposal would create a media literacy program for youth and make short documentaries with station staff. Abby was also involved in coordinating with several other community groups in order to get them better using MAIN’s resources.

As citizen journalism coordinator, Abby had begun work with local groups to raise funds to develop a citizen journalism program.

Media Watch Team Social Media Development

VISTA Name: 
Colleen Kelly
Program Start: 
Project Description: 

- Develop fund raising campaigns
- Develop personalized blogs for Media Watch Team members and citizen journalists
- Assist in the training Media Watch Team members and other staff in absic digital media authoring, such as video blogging
- Create a packaged curriculum for train-the-trainer workshops for digital media creation and facilitate the actual workshops
- Implement a membership system for online resources
- develop relationships with community leaders and organizations for building a strong youth media network in Boston

Project Outcome: 

Organized web resource area and assisted in the production of outreach and PR materials.

Citizen Journalism Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Julie Adler
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

As the way we communicate rapidly changes, Cambridge Community Television faces the future, and bringing access to emerging communication technologies to all of the people of our City becomes a priority.


Neighbor 2 Neighbor
•work with CCTV staff to develop this new program to embed citizen journalists in each of the city’s neighborhoods
•develop a plan to recruit and train the journalists
•work with the journalists to transfer digital media/web skills to community activists
•expand utilization of CCTV’s web site to address community issues

Develop and Implement Newscasts Targeted to 6th grade students
• Use existing design to help schools acquire simple news studios
• Research existing models for school news programs
• Develop and implement curriculum and newscasts to be recorded and FTP to a website and for retransmission on the school educational access channels

Youth Media Network Development:
• Develop citywide network for students involved in media making
• Work with the Youth Video Exchange Network to help create pathways for youth produced media to be shared nationally.
• Act as liaison to the Boston based Regional Youth Media Arts Education Collaborative (RYMAEC) to help meet the goal for shared curriculum, best practices and youth produced media.

Project Outcome: 

Julie’s work was instrumental in meeting our program goals of elevating more local residents to present media on the issues that affect their communities. We have countless blog posts, videos, photos and other pieces of issue-oriented media published on our website, and they have been seen by thousands of visitors in the course of the year. Julie’s execution of the Neighbormedia program also greatly successful in bringing our communities closer to each other. We saw many scenarios in which one citizen journalist published material about a community issue which then led to a high level of readership, discussion and participation around that particular issue. Bringing local producers together with their local audience is a massive tool for building community.

Impact Quote: 

One of the participants in the program came from a traditional journalism background and had a fair amount of difficulty acknowledging the value of our model of citizen journalism. Over time, and with significant reinforcement from Julie, this participant eventually became one of the most loyal evangelists of our citizen journalism program.”
- Sean Effel, supervisor

Neighborhood News Bureau Community Journalism Project lead

VISTA Name: 
Denise Cheng
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Our newest project, for which a vista would help us build a sustainable structure, has received initial funding via the The Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The purpose is to establish four Neighborhood News Bureaus (NNB) in the city. The purpose is to increase citizen engagement and to encourage greater flow of meaningful information from and to our urban neighborhoods. The NNB project will give Grand Rapids citizens the opportunity to become citizen reporters with a soon-to-be established online and physical network of neighborhood news bureaus in the urban core. The CMC will give citizen reporters the tools, structure and mediums by which to gather, write and report on local news and events. Reporters will be able to produce news for the web, radio or TV through the use of CMC’s resources. NNBs will be physically located in known neighborhood gathering locations, and each site will be outfitted with video and still cameras, computers, audio recorders and templates plus the connectivity required to “file” stories to the web. Additional production equipment and facilities are available for citizen reporter use through the Community Media Center.

The addition of a CTC VISTA member would provide a much needed staff person to help design and establish sustainable structures for the NNB project. While a Knight grant was indeed awarded to this project, all grants in this cycle were reduced by 40% due to the current economic climate. The VISTA member would help use move forward, as planned and would be a main support person for development of the local NNB locations. The work would include neighborhood outreach, collecting and organizing training materials, doing initial set up and organization of NNB’s and creating materials for use in story management and distribution for later use by editors and news gatherers.

Each bureau will be initially “staffed” with a news team comprised of neighborhood residents and college journalism/communication students. As the projects grow, each will be encouraged to develop its own leadership/advisory board. The VISTA member will help ensure high quality and fairness in the program by establishing a pool of professionals to provide training to participants.

Additionally, VISTA will help establish a structure and methods for collecting and maintaining a neighborhood information “bank” for use by the news bureaus.

Primarily, the Vista will be working on the establishment of the physical neighborhood news bureaus. They will be responsible for helping set up the physical and technical structure and coordinating with an initial corps of trainers to provide training for the neighborhood.

The Vista will work with our core NNB steering group and committees to carry out the the project development plan. Work will include relationship building with potential host sites, arranging for assistance for chosen sites; working with the journalists committee to identify training needs and develop a curriculum and recruit presenters; working with the PR committee to prepare our news bureau community launch activities: utilize social media frameworks to increase interest and connect with potential partners; develop user feedback mechanisms; and will produce user guidelines and other reference pieces to aid in community access and use of the site.

Goal 1: To help the CMC fulfill its mission of “Building Community Through Media” through the development of a Neighborhood News Bureaus.
Goal 2: To help the CMC be an ever more active presence in the Grand Rapids area as a vital resource for free speech and information about what’s happening from the citizen’s point of view.

Project Outcome: 

The primary goal was for Denise to help “design and establish sustainable structures for the” Neighborhood News Bureau project…now called the Rapidian. Denise has done an outstanding job at reaching out to the community to gather input, creatively think through the citizen reporting process and create procedures, structures and partnerships that support those processes. She has organized training materials and events; evaluated and revised methods, and researched other “best practices” bringing those lessons to bear on The Rapdiian project. Denise worked effectively in a team that included a drupal developer, a content coordinator (part time), the design manager and the publisher. As the only person dedicated FULLTIME to the launch and evolution of the project, Denise has taken an inspiring leadership role, allowing us to reach farther into the community and engage new participants.

We have expanded our reach and perceptions of relevance in the community (for the good). Mainstream/traditional media now includes us in discussions; promotes our work and even seeks our input and advice as they look to expand their use of community reporters. We a re currently working on the development of a business model to sustain the work, however, our “user engagement numbers” are significant.

The project was sufficiently open ended enough to allow Denise great creativity to design execution plans. But in addition to The Rapidian proper, she has extended a connection to our community radio station and represents the Rapidian weekly on-air. She has also established a drupal working group in our community.

Citizen Press Corps Project Developer

VISTA Name: 
Brooke Brown-Saracino
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

The Corps member will help Shires Media Partners develop a Citizen Press Corps, a cadre of citizen journalists who will be trained to use digital technology to gather news not covered in other media in the community, making WBTN-AM a multi-media community information hub. The Corps member will develop a collaborative website where the citizen journalists will post and share their work, from which Shires Media Partnership will select posts for further refinement, broadcast, and distribution.

People's Production House

New York, NY

At People’s Production House we are fulfilling the promise of citizen and community journalism by closing the gap in skills and access.

We believe a diverse, ethical, and independent media is an essential element of social change and we believe that historically excluded communities must be protagonists in media democracy. Our work combines media creation, media policy education and media organizing to preserve and expand the free press so central to America’s identity and democracy.

PPH is run and staffed by journalists and community organizers from historically excluded communities. Our projects are unique as we bring together two of the best American traditions: community organizing and independent media creation, to build a community of media organizers: media literate youth and workers who can create and demand a media that functions in their interests.

New Orleans Neighborhoods Partnership Network

New Orleans, LA

The Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization consisting of a citywide network of neighborhoods that was established after the Hurricane Katrina disaster to facilitate neighborhood collaboration, increase access to government and information, and strengthen the voices of individuals and communities across New Orleans.

The disasters revealed significant weakness in many structures Americans took for granted – physical structures such levees & hospitals, but also governing and social structures from FEMA to state and local entities. Citizens have had to become their own “first responders” – from rescuing their neighbors to rescuing their neighborhoods. NPN is one such organization born from both the failures and opportunities the catastrophe has provided.

NPN realized that a need existed for a citywide framework to assist communities in maximizing the use of limited resources and information while providing connections to other communities that have similar obstacles so that communities can avoid duplicating efforts and work toward shared goals. The infrastructure of this organization answers New Orleanians’ desires to be involved in the formal decision-making processes that impact quality of life issues for citizens and neighborhoods.

NPN’s mission is to improve the quality of life by engaging New Orleanians in neighborhood revitalization and civic processes. NPN consists of a board of community leaders reflective of neighborhoods throughout the city and a diverse staff immersed in coalition building, public and government relations. NPN envisions a New Orleans where all neighborhoods are great places to live.

National Black Programming Consortium

New York, NY

The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) is dedicated to developing black digital authorship, and distributing unique stories of the black experience in the new media age through enlightening digital content and community engagement.

NBPC is a national nonprofit with a 30-year track record of increasing capacity in minority communities by funding programming about the Black experience and issues for public television; mentoring emerging producers; and providing professional development training opportunities. With the emergence of the Internet as a viable method of broadcast and distribution, NBPC created the New Media Institute (NMI) in 2006 to train a new generation of makers to produce content across digital platforms. Two major initiatives grew out of NMI collaborations –, a citizen journalism web portal and training program, and the Public Media Corps, a national service supporting creative, sustainable and community-initiated methods for addressing the broadband divide in communities of color. Both projects extend NBPC’s impact beyond broadcasters to a new generation of community-based media makers, concerned with creating relevant content that will impact the well being of their communities.

Shires Media Partnership, Inc.

Bennington, VT

Through traditional radio broadcasting on WBTN-AM and through new media such as on-line streaming and the building of on-line community forums, the Shires Media Partnership, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), provides large-voice venues for ordinary citizens. Our programming consists of citizen voices, local news, local sports, music and New England professional sports. We serve Bennington and adjacent New York and Massachusetts communities.

The task of Shires Media is to provide the greater Bennington community with a voice for itself. The air space allotted to WBTN-AM by the Federal Communications Commission is seen by us as a community resource with the potential to express and enhance the lives of the people of the community. Through traditional radio broadcasting and through new media such as on-line streaming and the building of on-line community forums, the Shires Media Partnership provides large-voice venues for ordinary citizens.

We presently have radio programs featuring the voice of the local job service, health care shows, and we provide free air time to a variety of government organizations relating to education, employment and labor issues, and local governance On a regular basis, we instruct listeners to dial 2-1-1 for help in life situations (see

As well as providing a constant stream of air time to local NGOs and national NGOs to promote various anti-poverty and employment or employment-training programs, Shires Media Partnership helps to ensure that messages from such organizations get disseminated as widely as possible in ways that even the poorest of citizens can access thus helping to bridge the digital divide.

We also provide outreach to local schools, thus assuring that students from all socio-economic backgrounds develop media literacy (see North Bennington Graded Schools Radio Station).

Transmission Project